The California Reducing Disparities Project

The California Reducing Disparities Project (CRDP)

The California Reducing Disparities Project (CRDP) was founded in 2009 with the goal of achieving mental health equity for five priority populations in California – African American, Latino, Native American, Asian and Pacific Islander, and LGBTQ+. The CRDP is funded by the Mental Health Services Act (Proposition 63), which was passed by voters in 2004. The Mental Health Services Act is explicit in the law that a goal of the Act is to expand culturally and linguistically competent approaches for underserved populations.

The first phase of the CRDP focused on developing population specific knowledge about mental health challenges and community-defined solutions. Five population reports were published. In addition, the first phase developed and amplified a roadmap for reducing mental health disparities through policy change, the Strategic Plan. CPEHN served as the facilitator and writer of the Strategic Plan, which was published in 2018 after the participation of over 7,000 Californians. The second phase of the CRDP is intended to develop the capacity of community-based organizations to promote effective mental health strategies and to develop evidence of the success of culturally and linguistically responsive programs and approaches. 35 organizations have been funded to conduct and evaluate population specific approaches to mental health. This work is currently underway.

The CRDP is administered by the Office of Health Equity at the California Department of Public Health.

Population Reports

Strategic Plan to Reduce Mental Health Disparities

CPEHN is excited to release the California Reducing Disparities Project: Strategic Plan to Reduce Mental Health Disparities.

The Strategic Plan to Reduce Mental Health Disparities was developed by the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network (CPEHN) alongside our partners representing diverse populations in California. The Strategic Plan is a community-driven and community-authored document that provides a roadmap for reducing mental health disparities in unserved, underserved, and inappropriately served communities.

Click the links below to download the report and executive summary. The executive summary is translated in Simplified Chinese, Spanish, and Vietnamese.

CRDP: Advancing Mental Health Equity Statewide Conference (April 2018)

Mental health and wellness is a critical issue for diverse communities, particularly in the current social and political climate. However, access to appropriate and effective services is limited for communities of color, limited English proficient communities, immigrants and refugees, and the LGBTQ community. This conference provided an opportunity for advocates, providers, consumers, and other community partners to collaborate and develop strategies for change.

Focus areas of the conference:

  • Learning about the development and recommendations of the California Reducing Disparities Project Strategic Plan
  • Hearing from local organizers and providers about best practices for community-defined programs and evaluations to serve diverse populations
  • Providing input about opportunities and challenges for policy change
  • Strengthening the network of mental health advocates in California and develop an equity framework



AB 512 (Ting): Cultural Competence in Mental Health (Vetoed)

The California Pan-Ethnic Health Network (CPEHN), the Steinberg Institute, #Out4MentalHealth, the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC), the California Black Health Network, and the Latino Coalition for a Healthy California (LCHC) are pleased to support and sponsor AB 512 (Ting), which  requires  counties to set forward-looking goals in their mental health cultural competence plans and requires the Department of Healthcare Services (DHCS) to annually review and monitor their progress.
Despite tremendous gains in mental health coverage,  communities of color and LGBTQ+  communities continue to  experience disparities in quality and access to mental health treatment. This bill would ensure that counties have the guidance, expertise, and assistance they need to realize the intended purpose of cultural competence plan requirements—to actively respond to and reduce disparities in mental health outcomes.
For more information and ways to support:

Covered California

Covered California, California’s Health Benefit Exchange, currently provides health coverage for over 1.5 million Californians through contracted health plans. Covered California requires health plans to report on health care quality, outcomes, and disparities. Covered California recently commissioned a study to inform their health plan contracting which recognized the CRDP and the CRDP Strategic Plan as a key example of how to reduce health disparities. The report is available here. Discussion of the CRDP begins on page 31.

You can view upcoming Covered CA Board Meetings and get involved here.

The Department of Health Care Services

The Department of Health Care Services operates Medi-Cal, California’s health care coverage program for nearly 13 million residents, a majority communities of color. DHCS oversees county mental health plans as well  as the mental health responsibilities of Medi-Cal managed care plans. DHCS is required to annually produce a strategy for improving health care outcomes and quality in the program. Advocates, including CPEHN, have urged DHCS to include health equity as a key component of the strategy. The draft 2020 strategy was released for public comment on November 18th and contains an important commitment to working with the Office of Health Equity and the CRDP to develop and implement mental health disparities initiatives. The draft strategy is available here. Discussion of mental health disparities begins on page 23. You can submit comments on the strategy until December 23, 2019.

DHCS also hosts a Behavioral Health Stakeholder Advisory Committee which meets quarterly. Public comment time is provided. You can learn more and get involved here.

The Mental Health Oversight and Accountability Commission (MHSOAC)

The Mental Health Oversight and Accountability Commission (MHSOAC) is an independent commission responsible for providing leadership and oversight of California’s mental health services, particularly the Mental Health Services Act. The MHSOAC approves county innovations projects, among other responsibilities. The MHSOAC provides resources for stakeholder advocacy, including for diverse racial and ethnic communities. This RFP opportunity will be opening on December 2nd. Learn more by reviewing this meeting packet, beginning on page 172, here.

You can also get involved by participating in MHSOAC meetings and committee meetings by visiting here.


California Reducing Disparties Project: Education, Outreach and Awareness Webinars

The CRDP monthly webinar will provide tools necessary to elevate/highlight your community needs, identify and explore mental health funding resources and opportunities, and innovately tell your success story! Join us every third Friday of the month at 11am from December 2019 to February 2021!

Equity in Behavioral Health

Webinar #2: Best Practices to Reduce Disparities in Mental Health (October 2018)

Topics: Effective mental health outreach models for communities of color; community-defined best practices for addressing trauma and mental health needs; strategies for data collection and reporting to address disparities.


  • Jan Hefner, The Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity – “Reducing Isolation through Support and Empowerment”
  • Gulshan Yusufzai, Muslim American Society: Social Services Foundation – “Shifa for Today”

Watch the recording!

Mobilizing for Health Equity Training Series

In 2019, Having Our Say (HOS) conducted an eight-part webinar series on “Mobilizing for Health Equity”. This series was designed to build knowledge and tools for community-based organizations and grassroots advocates to better engage in state and local advocacy to fight for health equity.

Webinar topics include:

  • What is Health Equity?
  • Budget & Legislative Advocacy (Part 1)
  • Budget & Legislative Advocacy (Part 2)
  • Media & Social Media Advocacy
  • Administrative Advocacy
  • Community Advocacy
  • County Advocacy
  • Data & Evaluation

View archived trainings here!


Other Resources

  • Immigrant Mental Health Report (February 2019)
    CPEHN is excited to release Accessing Mental Health in the Shadows: How Immigrants in California Struggle to Get Needed Care. The expansion of public mental health services over the last several decades, while significant, has not guaranteed access to mental health care for all California residents, especially undocumented immigrants. Over the past year, CPEHN interviewed fifteen county behavioral health leaders representing twelve California county behavioral health departments in order to evaluate the barriers that immigrant communities face when accessing mental health care. Find the full report here
  • Innovations in Mental Health (July 2018)Communities of color and LGBTQ communities have historically been unserved, underserved, or inappropriately served by California’s behavioral health system. Without innovation in local delivery systems, the prevalence of inappropriate treatment or no treatment among communities of color and LGBTQ communities will remain. This summer, the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network, along with its partners the California Primary Care Association and #Out4MentalHealth, released a brief on mental health innovation in California. The brief highlights models of local innovation and opportunities for local and statewide change to ensure new practices are introduced into California’s mental health system. Click here to read the MHSA Innovation Recommendations.
  • Measuring Mental Health Disparities (June 2018)CPEHN is excited to release Measuring Mental Health Disparities: A Roadmap & Recommendations for Implementation of the Mental Health Equity Act (AB 470, 2017). We know that health care coverage and access alone do not guarantee a reduction of disparities or improve health outcomes. Quality of care and the cultural appropriateness of care are critical components of ensuring health equity. Click here to read Measuring Mental Health Disparities.

CRDP Participating Organizations

Implementation Pilot Project

Technical Assistance Provider

If you have questions or to get involved, please contact CPEHN’s Executive Director Kiran Savage-Sangwan at